Classical music that’s not for the season

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that one can hear Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer too many times. Ditto the syrupy seasonal standards on those awful, awful shopping-mall CDs.

It’s just the early days of December and many of us are already fed up with our annual overload of holiday music. Thankfully, some of our top presenters offer quality classical music with no particular reference to the time of year.

True, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra does Christmas big-time with all those A Traditional Christmas shows. But the orchestra also has a nice Baroque program on offer mid-month. And if Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons is making its way on to the seasonal play list, music by Corelli as dished up in arrangements by Geminiani, Hasse and Telemann is in no way holiday-specific. Russian-born violinist Philippe Quint leads a chamber orchestra of VSO top players, and principal flute Christie Reside is featured in Telemann’s E minor Concerto for flute and violin; Dec. 15 and 16, 8 p.m. at the Chan Centre; Dec. 17, 2 p.m. at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster.

‘Twas almost the night before Christmas, and guess what? There are two performances by the Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Dec. 22 and 23, that’s what. Vancouver connoisseurs are more familiar with what we call “Cantonese” opera-style — as the lobby displays at Vancouver Opera’s glamorous Turandot demonstrated. There is also a distinct northern idiom of Chinese music theatre that emerged in the 18th century, flourished as a courtly entertainment in the 19th, and was denounced as bourgeois during the Cultural Revolution. Today, Beijing style opera, with its extravagant costumes, sets and brilliant theatrical effects, is back in favour, delighting old fans and actively seeking out new audiences. The Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe will do the classic, The Legend of Lady White Snake, 7 p.m., Dec. 22-23. There’s also going to be a sampler of great opera scenes in a Dec. 23 matinee, 2 p.m.

Two fine chamber-music options are there for the listening this month. Now under the direction of Adrian Fung, Music in the Morning has matinees Dec. 13, 14 and 15, featuring two piano quartets, one a repertoire staple — Brahms’s G minor quartet (the one with the gypsy rondo finale everyone loves). And there’s a new contender in the piano-quartet firmament written by

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Entertainment

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